31 August, 2017
The fourth and penultimate round of the Blancpain Sprint Series did not produce any championship points for Rob Bell and his teammate Andrew Watson, with the duo out of luck in the two races, finishing x in the qualifying race and x in the main race in the # 59 Strakka Racing McLaren 650S GT3.
The Budapest round of the Blancpain Sprint Series began with the traditional downtown display of Series supercars with the cars being escorted to the venue by the local police. The on track action began on Friday with the opening practice session.
The free practice 1 session produced a respectable 13th fastest lap for the #59 car, but 0.65 seconds off the lead car. In the second session technical issues for the McLaren 650S curtailed the time on track for Rob, with him only able to complete six laps before having to pit and losing them valuable track time and preparation for the qualifying sessions.
Rob was in the car for the first of the three qualifying session and showed the potential for the car with sixth fastest lap, the fastest of the McLarens competing in the race. However, the pace dropped off for Andrew’s stint in qualifying with a 28th fastest lap, leaving them in this position for the grid.
With a back of the grid slot for the start it was always going to be a mountain to climb for Rob and Andrew to finish much further forward and after 34 gruelling laps they finished in 24th place. The main race was another huge challenge for the duo and by the end of the race they had improved position but only able to reach 17th place.
Rob said of the Hungaroring round, “ It wasn’t a good weekend for us. We were the best of the McLaren finishers in the main race, but still not on the pace of the top guys, which is really tough. We all go out there wanting to be competitive and in with a shot of winning, or a podium at the very least. Sadly, this weekend we just didn’t have the package to do that. It’s difficult to pinpoint this, but getting the tyres working well for us, allied to the BOP that seems to hamper our competitiveness, is possibly part of this. It isn’t easy for anyone on the team when things aren’t going well, but the British bulldog spirit will carry us through to Nurburgring and we’ll be looking for better results there.”
Rob returns home this week to race on home turf, with the fifth round of the International GT Open taking place at Silverstone next weekend.